Scotland turns to carbon capture to alleviate industrial pressure

Researchers from Scotland have been awarded £2.8m to investigate how Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) can support the UK's efforts to reduce emissions in the manufacturing sector, after scientists claimed that a massive CCS drive will be necessary to combat climate change.

Scientists from the Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) research partnership have received the majority of a £4m funding pot from EPSRC, to roll out three CCS research projects aiming to develop flexible and cost-effective CCS strategies across industrial sectors.

EPSRC’s Research Challenges in Industrial CCS fund has awarded £2.8m to three projects which will look into the carbon absorption process in industrial resources and how a compact CCS system could play its part in combatting industrial emissions.

The University of Edinburgh’s – which is leading the research team – professor Stefano Brandani said: “Emissions from power plants represent only one third of overall carbon emissions and developing solutions for industrial emissions is a key requirement if we are to meet the challenge of achieving 80% reductions in emissions by 2050.”

Companies including Lotte Chemical and Diageo will be contributing to the research process, which will see small-scale CCS technology installed at a wide range of industrial sites, as well as developing new absorption-capable materials that could be used in the industrial industry.

Researcher Dr Xianfeng Fan said: “CO2 emissions from industry are typically from a number of small, low concentration sources with a wide range of flue gas compositions and impurity profiles. That means it’s useful to have several compact and flexible capture units, with low operating and capital costs and high efficiency. Our work will combine two technologies that will enable such devices to be installed at a wide range of industrial sites.”

Backstop necessity

The funding comes just days after a climate scientist from Oxford University warned that a global goal of ‘net zero emissions’ would be impossible without the utilisation of CCS – a procedure which would require ‘massive’ amounts of investment.

Oxford University’s professor of climate dynamics Myles Allen published the ‘Drivers of peak warming in a consumption-maximising world’ paper earlier this week, and claimed that renewable energy alone would not hit the zero-net emissions target without CCS acting as a backstop.

“Discussions of backstop mitigation options, such as C02 removal, is often dismissed as a distraction from the need to reduce emissions now,” Allen said. “The converse may be true; focusing exclusively on short-term emission reduction may be distracting us from what really matters.”


The Government’s controversial decision to scrap the £1bn CCS funding competition has been criticised in recent days due to the ongoing crisis surrounding the Tata Steel site in Port Talbot.

Many are arguing that implementing CCS techniques in energy intensive industries – much like the research that SCCS is trialling – would secure the long-term financial future of these industries by reducing unavoidable carbon dioxide emissions, which are proving costly due to the UK’s high carbon price floor.

Matt Mace

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